The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has postponed the recently modified regulation to allow 6 parts per million (ppm) of fluopyram residue in tea due to public apprehension, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said.
Concerns were raised over the FDA’s announcement on Wednesday last week that it would modify standards for pesticide residue limits in foods, of particular concern being the increased maximum levels for fluopyram — a fungicide — in tea from 0ppm to 6ppm.
Lawmakers from several political parties, physicians and non-governmental organizations also questioned the FDA’s decision, with some saying that the 6ppm limit is much higher than that of Australia, Japan and the EU.
After a specialists’ meeting at the FDA on Friday to re-evaluate safe levels for fluopyram residue in tea and dimethomorph residue in lettuce, it announced that it considered the levels to be safe for humans and that they would not cause cancer, and said it would not change its original decision.
However, the FDA issued another press release that evening, stating that it would postpone modifying the fluopyram limit for tea.
In response to media queries for comments, Chen said the modification was pre-announced according to formal procedures, and he respects the conclusion the specialists reached.
However, he said the implementation was postponed because of public concern, potential negative effects on tea exports and a lack of urgency for the change.
As the announcement failed to effectively communicate with the public regarding safety, he said the FDA would discuss how to announce modifications to pesticide residue limits with the Council of Agriculture, such as explaining those that significantly differ from standards in other countries, rather than announcing more than 100 items at once.
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